Nicol named new director of Information Trust Institute


Professor David M. Nicol has been announced as the new director of the Information Trust Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Effective January 16, he succeeded ITI's inaugural director, Professor William H. Sanders, who became director of the Coordinated Science Laboratory at Illinois.

David Nicol
David Nicol

Nicol has been on the faculty of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Illinois since 2003, and has participated in ITI since its founding in 2004. Prior to joining Illinois, he held positions at the Institute for Computer Applications in Science and Engineering, the College of William and Mary, and Dartmouth College, where he served as chair of the Department of Computer Science and helped to establish the Institute for Security Technology Studies. He earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Virginia in 1985.

"I'm honored to be entrusted with the leadership of ITI," said Nicol. "Our society depends enormously on complex cyber-enabled systems like the electric power grid, finance, health care, and transportation; the trend is towards more automation in most technical domains. The research fostered by ITI is absolutely critical in helping to design systems that are trustworthy-- that they work as expected in all contexts, even in the presence of malicious cyber-attacks upon them." Nicol also commented on ITI's unique philosophy. "ITI's approach is exceptional in developing industry partnerships and emphasizing interdisciplinary work. It brings together people who are doing basic science and people who are creating practical, real-world applications for that science. It's an exciting place, and I'm looking forward to bringing my perspectives to the difficult challenges that ITI is addressing."

"I couldn't be more pleased that Prof. Nicol has accepted the directorship of ITI," said Ilesanmi Adesida, Dean of the College of Engineering at Illinois, which houses ITI. "ITI has been a tremendous success, but the potential for future growth is limitless. David has earned the admiration and respect of his colleagues at the University and throughout the research community. We are very fortunate to welcome someone of his caliber to lead ITI into its next era."

Ravi Iyer, the interim Vice Chancellor for Research at Illinois, echoed Adesida's sentiments. "David Nicol is a world leader in the security and trust field, and an educator of outstanding merit with the ability to take ITI to the next level in its evolution. I am delighted that he has agreed to be its next director. I am confident he will enhance ITI's already strong national and international stature."

Nicol's own research areas include analysis of computer and communication systems, particularly with respect to security (attacks and defensive measures); quantitative methods for security evaluation; high-performance computing; parallel algorithms; and modeling and simulation methodologies. His hundreds of technical publications include the textbook Discrete-Event System Simulation (Prentice-Hall). His numerous honors include designation as a Fellow of the IEEE and the ACM, as well as receipt of the first-ever ACM SIGSIM Distinguished Contributions Award, given in 2007 for his contributions to the area of computer-based simulation.